The Skoda Karoq faces a bit of a problem: it’s hard to have a discussion about it without talking about another car first.
Let me demonstrate. Take a look at the photo of the Karoq above. What do you see? Chances are that your answer is a) a smaller Skoda Kodiaq; b) a replacement Yeti; or c) a Seat Ateca clone.
Now, there’s no shame in the Karoq being linked to any of those three machines - they’re all fine cars. And if Skoda has succeeded in building a car based on the design of the Kodiaq, built on the platform of the Ateca and with the quirky appeal of the Yeti, then the Karoq will be a sales smash.
So what’s the problem? Well, nothing really. The Karoq is lovely. Seriously, it is. It’s stylish, with its crisp and clear lines and creases, and the elegant Kodiaq-style front grille.
It’s packed with top-notch tech, including some great features like the digital display and personalised keys. Plus, it features plenty of the nice little design touches Skoda has become known for all over it, such a tablet holder in the back and a hidden umbrella.
It’s also hugely spacious and comfortable inside. For reasons that don’t need exploring at this juncture, the question I ask myself when judging a new SUV's interior is this: would I, if short on options, happily spend the night in one? In the case of the Karoq, the answer is a resounding yes.
I'm sure buyers will agree. Assuming it's priced as keenly as the Kodiaq is in its class, the Karoq should be a compelling choice for buyers looking for an affordable, refined and honed SUV.
See, there’s no problem. Except this: it’s all very nice. It’s all very grown-up. It’s all very sophisticated. But when I look at it, I don’t see a Karoq yet. I see a smaller Kodiaq, a reinvented Yeti, an ever-so-slightly revised Ateca.
Of course, this is day one for the Karoq. I’m sure it will find its place, and I’m sure it will prove to be a worthy addition to the SUV marketplace. But to truly become loved, it will have to find its own identity.